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How To Design A Magazine Spread

When designing a magazine spread, it’s important to take into consideration the challenges and opportunities of this unique format. There’s plenty of room for creativity in a double-page magazine spread, and a bit of planning is in order to make sure you make the most of it. Two full pages are a lot of free space to fill with whatever your heart desires.

Grab the opportunity to mix and match styles, colors, text, and pictures to best show off your vision on this wide-open canvas. Find out how you can use tried and true design elements to create a magazine spread that will pull in your audience and keep them turning the pages.

Challenge yourself to use vertical alignment, to experiment with styles, color blocking, or font sizes. Learn how to make your double-page spread into the kind of mind-blowing design that you can be proud of.

How to Design a Stunning Magazine Spread

A magazine’s double-page spread is a white canvas full of opportunities. The creative freedom and artistic potential of a magazine spread allows for nearly unlimited combinations of style, text, colors, illustrations, and pictures. But how do you design a magazine spread that will make your reader stop in their tracks? One that will convince them to keep turning the pages? Making your magazine spread one that pulls in your reader doesn’t require magical abilities, although you’d do well to keep certain tips and tricks in mind. While by no means a manual, below are a couple of things to pay attention to as you design a magazine spread that you can be proud of.

Pick an Extreme

People have different opinions and likes when it comes to design. Some enjoy loud maximalist styles with vivid colors, giant eye-catching headlines, and large fonts. Others prefer a minimalistic style, simpler content and styles, muted colors, uncomplicated photos, streamlined fonts, lots of white space. Either one is a good pick, and likely, you’ll already know whether your audience enjoys one over the other or will enjoy either.

The one thing you should not do is try to please both camps at once. Going with the neutral middle ground is seldom the best idea, especially in design. Most likely you’ll end up pleasing neither camp.

Picking one style for your magazine spread and going all in with whatever style you choose is far more likely to give you results. Leaning into one of two extremes may also spur your creativity in ways you won’t know until you try. So make a decision on whether you want to go big and bold, or keep your design simple and stripped down. The choice is yours. Both are good options as long as you choose just one.

Use Color to Your Advantage

Color is an amazing design tool, as any artist will testify. But you can use colors as more than just an accidental side character or a snazzy backdrop to your other content. You can use color to intentionally tell your story with color blocking. Blocks of solid colors contrasting with text in secondary colors create a stunning effect when done intentionally and with care. Don’t be afraid to use colors as main characters as you tell your story.

Play Around with Alignment

Vertical alignment of a double-page magazine spread isn’t used often, probably because of the active reorientation required from the reader. Requiring your reader to work for the impression you want to make isn’t usually recommended. However, it might be worth it for the unique picture a vertically aligned magazine spread can be. Vertical alignment gives artistic freedom to emphasize the height of infographics, photography, and style.

Big Letter Quotes

Don’t minimize your quotes. If someone has something to say that’s worthy of a quote, why not make it part of the imagery by utilizing large fonts? Display quotes creatively, and let your creativity shine. Words are powerful imagery, but so can loud fonts and large font sizes be, if you let them be the additional imagery they can be!

Use Big Ideas Sparingly

Using all these ideas at once probably won’t be in your best interest. It is probably better to pick one or two and combine them into a magazine spread that will speak clearly to your audience, rather than one that feels like a mash-up of graphic design ideas. 

Whether you use these tips or not, make sure you do everything you can to make your magazine spread the attention grabber it should be. Pull your audience in and keep them turning those pages!

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